The average American worker puts in 38.7 hours a week and works 46.8 weeks during the year, according to a Pew analysis of Labor Department data. Some workers bypass that number with 40% regularly working more than 50 hours per week, and 20% working more than 60 hours each week.
That's a lot of hours to put in at a job if it's not your passion. Some people, of course, are lucky enough that what they do for work is what they love. If you're not one of those people -- and you're someone who counts the hours until you can leave work to get to your hobby -- there is hope.
In many cases, you can turn your passion into a career. Doing so, however, requires having a plan, being aggressive, and sometimes making sacrifices.
1. Do a self-evaluation
Just because you love brewing beer on the weekends does not mean you want to turn that into a job. Before starting on a path to turn your passion into a career, you need to evaluate if that's something you really want.
Be honest. In some cases, our hobbies bring us joy because we only get to spend limited time on them. You may love knitting or model trains, but you should really consider whether being part of that activity all day long will take the fun out of it.
2. Identify what the relevant jobs are
I love books and would happily read for a living if that was an option. Since it's not, I had to examine what the actual jobs in the field are. In theory, I could work at or manage a bookstore, I could edit for a publisher, or try my hand at being a full-time author.
None of those appealed to me all that much, so I ended up as a writer. Call it a book-adjacent field, but by looking at my options, I decided on none of the above and kept my passion for books as a hobby while entering a related field.
3. Learn what you need
If you collect model airplanes and want to become a pilot, then it's important to know what steps you need to take to get there. That may mean getting specific certification, going back to school, or otherwise gaining new skills.
In addition, it's important to understand what the steps are. If your dream is to be a baseball umpire, it's important to know not just the required skills, but the path you would have to take to make that a living.
4. Understand the economics
Making a big career change tends to come with a cost. You may have to pay for school or take time off to get whatever certification you need. There may also be multiple paths to the same end goal.
For example, in Connecticut, adults with a college degree who want to get certified as a school teacher can opt for an intense roughly two-month course or an extended one-day a week option. The intense version takes less time, but it makes it so you can't work during the training.
In addition, you will also want to know what your desired job will pay. If you're a lawyer making six figures, becoming a teacher involves a pay cut. That may be worth it to you, but you should fully understand what you're getting into.
5. Talk to people
It's likely that no matter what field you hope to enter, there are others who followed the same path. Talk to them. Find out if they like having their passion as their job or if they have any regrets about their decision.
You will likely learn both good and bad things. Don't be scared off, but go into your potential new career with your eyes wide open.
Making a change and following your passion may not be easy. Make a plan, execute it, and don't give up.
Be realistic too. You can, for example, have a career in baseball, but if you're not a high school or college prospect, that dream of playing shortstop for the Boston Red Sox is not going to happen.
You deserve to have a job that you want to go to every day. That can happen if you make a realistic plan and stick to it. There will be roadblocks, but those can be overcome with planning and hard work.